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College Board's SAT exam becomes digital in 2024, local admissions officers say there are pros and cons

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 18:52:06-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The College Board is switching the SAT. The test will become digital in 2024 with some format changes.

Doctor Randyll Bowen is Vice President of Enrollment Management at Hilbert College in Hamburg, and he said the SAT’s switch to online testing will only deepen the divide between well and underserved students.

"It’s disappointing that this is the change, the modality of how it's being delivered,” Dr. Bowen said. "It can get a little difficult for those students who haven't been exposed to the use of computers on regular basis and the access of technology."

But Vice President of undergrad enrollment at Niagara University, Michael Freedman, said he thinks College Board is making this decision with accessibility in mind.

“I'm optimistic that some of the reasoning behind making this shift is trying to create more access," Freedman said.

According to the College Board, the switch to digital will help create more dates and times for testing adding the percentage of ‘A’ average high school students has increased from 39% to 55% over the past 23 years.

"I think they're [standardized tests] relevant because it gives you a holistic approach on a student,” Bowen said.

The test will now be two hours instead of three hours and will give students more time per question. And even though the test will be digital, it cannot be taken at home. The College Board said 80% of students who participated in the pilot said the new test is less stressful.

"You're really meeting students with the type of technology that is current and that they're most comfortable with," Freedman said.

“There are some real advantages to that format, and I was glad to see it," Department Chair of Higher Education Administration, at University at Buffalo, Nathan Daun-Barnett said.

The test will be scored on the same scale and students will be able to go back to questions.

"I think that's really good because that can help reduce anxiety that students will have,” Daun-Barnett said.

This change comes as colleges and universities are increasingly making standardized tests an optional part of their application. Hilbert College, Niagara University and University at Buffalo are just three of nearly 2,000 schools nationwide that are not currently requiring students to report test scores. And college admissions officers said students will not get penalized for deciding not to report their standardized test scores.